Joe Biden is still the best chance for the Democrats if the Republican nominee is Donald Trump. But what if Joe won’t run or can’t?
A year ago, President Joe Biden was explicit in his decision to run for reelection. And now, Biden is in the running for 2024 officially. But what if Joe Biden can’t or won’t run?
The question is not out of bounds for a lot of reasons. Perhaps it’s his advanced age. Maybe he doesn’t remember. It might be the fact that his son, Hunter, has ensnared the entire Biden family in multiple corruption allegations and has made them all susceptible to damaging investigations.
Or it’s possible that Biden is plain tired.
Who Could it Be Now?
Though, as I have written extensively in these pages these two candidates are unlikely to achieve anything other than embarrassment if they run in 2024, because of their shambolic records.
Meanwhile, the semi-mystical self-help-guru-turned-presidential-candidate, Marianne Williamson, has become the first to officially challenge Joe Biden for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2024. Most assume her candidacy is a “long-shot” meant to force Biden farther to the Left than he already is. There is also now Robert Kennedy Junior.
Other people who could run are Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, California Governor Gavin Newsom, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Of the names listed, all share some similarities. They are all firmly on the Left, so they pass the ideological smell test for most Democrats. Yet, they are not so far to the Left that they turn off the moderates.
Leadership and Ideology Count
What’s more, in the case of Whitmer, Newsom, and Adams, these three are currently in executive leadership roles and have demonstrated a willingness to exercise their executive power.
Governors Whitmer and Newsom zealously deployed state power to restrict and constrain the movement of their citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Adams has engaged in similar draconian measures—although he has not been as severe as his predecessor, Bill DeBlasio, was.
All three are relatively young, belonging to Generation-X. Thus, should they square off against Donald Trump as the Republican nominee in the General Election, these three would have a stronger youth appeal—or at least that’s what some people believe.
The dynamic changes, however, if someone like Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis is the Republican nominee.
California vs. Florida
Further, the strengths working in Gavin Newsom’s favor as a Democrat are the very same weaknesses that could potentially derail any presidential bid in 2024 (whether he faces Trump or DeSantis).
As governor of California, Newsom presided over the downturn of his state’s economy. Even before his strict COVID-19 policies were enacted, Californians were fleeing the state and moving to Red States (including Florida). Newsom has dealt with multiple scandals since taking office as well.
The fact of the matter is that Newsom’s policies have not bettered California and he will be hard-pressed to convince people outside of the Democratic Party that he could better the United States.
Consider this: an astonishing 70 percent of Californians in February told pollsters from Quinnipiac University that they did not want Newsom running for office. What’s more, Newsom’s approval rate with California voters in the same poll was underwater, with just 44 percent giving him positive marks as of March.
Gretchen Whitmer: A Progressive Extraordinaire
On the other hand, Gretchen Whitmer is a fire-breathing Progressive who stared down the Republicans in her swing state of Michigan and won.
At one point in the 2020 election, Joe Biden had her vetted to be his vice president.
That Whitmer won reelection in a contested state, with a Republican-dominated state legislature no less, without having to weaken her harshest stances on COVID-19, guns, and other divisive issues indicates her staying power.
Just like Gavin Newsom, though, her hardline stances on COVID-19 restrictions and some of her Progressive stances on cultural issues might not play as well at a national level as it does at the state level.
Eric Adams Won’t Quit
As for Mayor Eric Adams, he’s the least likely of the three Gen-X’ers mentioned here to run in 2024.
Having just recently become mayor of New York City—and not making the situation there demonstrably better than when he had taken over—it would probably be in his favor not to run (yet).
According to many Democratic Party insiders in New York City, Adams has been open about his belief that his role as mayor of America’s most iconic city gives him a national platform to run in 2024.
Yet, Adams defeated his fellow Democrat, the unpopular Bill DeBlasio, by running on a platform of law and order. Adams, a former NYPD detective, came across as the man with a plan to save the Big Apple from the criminality and chaos it had descended into during the DeBlasio years. Despite his background as a police officer and his campaign promises, though, crime has worsened under the Adams Administration in New York. In fact, 54 percent of New Yorkers polled in 2022 gave Adams failing marks for his handling of crime in the city. Adams has an overall 43 percent approval rating from New Yorkers as of March.
Still, Adams does come across as an acceptable Liberal to many moderates nationally. He talks like a common sense, tough cop. But the last few New York mayors who’ve run for president have lost. Nonetheless, reports suggest that Adams has already started fundraising for a possible presidential bid in 2024—and that he has enjoyed positive results thus far.
As for the two former first ladies, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. While many believe these are long-shot candidates, I would not be surprised if either entered the race—particularly if Donald Trump were the nominee.
Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold?
Hillary Clinton has twice lost her bids for the presidency. The second time, in 2016, she was believed to be the heir apparent. Her time running for office was supposed to be less of a campaign and more of a coronation—and she acted like it. Clinton’s loss to Trump was a humiliating and unplanned end to her lifetime of planning and working toward becoming the first female president of the United States.
Since losing in 2016, Clinton has maintained a relatively low profile. Although, she has started recently reappearing on cable news channels and the controversial Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) has been reopened in the last year, meaning that she and her husband are not planning to stay retired for very long.
Plus, with Trump being the likeliest nominee in 2024 for the Republicans, he now comes with much more political baggage than he did in 2016. Back then, Trump could portray himself as an outsider sent to clean a corrupt system up (a system that Clinton was the queen bee of). After four years in office, with the caustic memories of COVID-19, election denialism, and January 6 still echoing in the minds of many voters, Hillary Clinton might be thinking that the third time’s a charm…especially against a far weaker, older, and less stable Trump.
The “It” Girl of 2024: Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama is on the record as telling audiences that Trump’s 2016 victory “hurt” her and made her feel as though she and her husband, former President Barack Obama, were being personally repudiated by the American people. The prospects of a Michelle Obama candidacy frighten Republican insiders and, specifically, the Trump Campaign as well. She has an “it” factor that other potential Democratic Party candidates lack. Of all the possible contenders listed here, hers is not only the most viable but the most dynamic candidacy in 2024.
A Deep Bench?
As it stands all but one of the possible contenders listed above—Michelle Obama—stand little chance of winning.
In fact, I maintain that Joe Biden is still the best chance for the Democrats if the Republican nominee is Donald Trump (simply because Michelle Obama has not announced her run). If it is DeSantis or another Republican, things get murkier for the Democrats.
One thing is clear: 2024 is going to be one wild ride politically—as wild as 2016 was. Maybe that’s a good thing for We, The People, though.
Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who recently became a writer for 19FortyFive.com. Weichert is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as a contributing editor at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower(Republic Book Publishers), The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (March 28), and Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.